by David Jones
A colleague laments being defeated by the “minimalist instructions” on a set of Christmas lights.
I know how he feels. I bought a lawnmower in August but haven’t put it together because the instructions read like a Goon Show script.
After reading the booklet six times, I lost the will to live.
Step 3: “Assemble the grass bag as the introduction stick (sic) on the board.” Step 4: Life (sic) the real (sic) flap. Fix the hoke (sic) grass box to the grass bag to the flap’s axle to make the bag and the unit together.”
I am still trying to figure out what an “assy” is, or where it should go on the lawnmower.
Equally incomprehensible was a diagram illustrating the way in which the grass-catching box should be assembled.
This could easily have been a flow chart for a condensing gas boiler or the plans for a new type of folding chair.
To make matters worse, the booklet informed me there were two types of grass catchers available for my mower, and gave instructions for both. But it was not clear which set referred to which bag.
In desperation, I turned to the Troubleshooting Guide. This gave me plenty of information about reasons why the mower might not start but nothing about how to understand the instructions.
The strange thing is that I bought my lawnmower from a company which prides itself on the quality of its products. And indeed my mower is a fine looking piece of machinery.
Sadly, I have not yet had the opportunity to put it to the test. I have set aside March and April to start reading the instructions again in the hope that I will have deciphered them before the grass starts growing.
Clearly no one in the company has grasped the fact that the irritation factor caused by unfathomable instructions is sufficient to make a customer – namely me – go elsewhere next time, whatever the quality of their products.